My Ponderosa in Georgia.

Dav4

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I've owned this tree for 5 years. It has never been particularly vigorous for me, even when it resided in frigid MA. Well, the 20 months it has spent in Georgia have not helped its condition. It lost its main branch the summer after the move, and the remaining branches have continued to weaken. It was last re-potted 3 years ago. At the time, I recalled seeing some black "field" soil at the base of the trunk, but was reluctant to remove it as this was the first yamadori I had ever re-potted. Big mistake, I suspect. Anyway, it was re-potted yesterday and all the soil was replaced. I was very aggressive, basically bare rooting the tree and hosing away the black gunk- I figured I had nothing to lose, and the tree actually had a fair amount of new root tips pushing growth. Anyway, fingers crossed. I was told before the move by folks down here to leave the Ponderosas up north, but I wanted to give this one a shot. Success or failure, I'll post it here.

Dave
 

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Dav4

Drop Branch Murphy
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Thanks, Si. I really liked the way that first branch enhanced the movement of the trunk. You're right, though, in that the tree still looks fine without it. Take care,

Dave
 

DaveV

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Dave, It's always been my understanding that Ponderosa pines can't survive that far south. Lets hope I heard wrong.

DaveV
 

mcpesq817

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With all the rain and humidity we get on the east coast, I think it's a good idea to remove that native soil as soon as possible. I did that on a couple of ponderosas the first spring they arrived and they are doing quite well. On the other hand, I had a collected DF that I got one fall that I decided to delay repotting, and it died by the following summer. Not a scientific study by any means, but the post-mortem on the DF showed a brick like root mass with tons of dead roots. So, I repot and try to take as much of that muck out as possible, without cutting any roots. Seems to work for me.

I also had one experience with a big hinoki cypress that I bought in the clearance section of my local landscape nursery two years ago. It was sitting in gray heavy clay like soil which made the thing weigh a ton. The next weekend I repotted it and removed as much clay as possible, probably 80% of the soil mass, and put it in pure turface. The next year I went to remove the remaining 20%, and noticed that all the roots in that section were dead or close to it, while the roots in the turface were vibrant and had grown a ton in that year. So, I have a feeling that a similar thing happens with collected Rocky Mountain trees that are on the east coast.
 

greerhw

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I tried everything here in Oklahoma, believe me, I've paid my dues over the advice of people that have gone before me. I thought they didn't know what they were doing and I did, well guess what, everything they told me was true. You can't fool mother nature forever, she will eventually catch up with you. I've had some trees that took five years to die, but die they did. I am down to conifers and junipers, the only two that will thrive here. It is difficult to keep either of these species in control because of the extended growing season. It's an uphill battle. Anybody want a good deal on twenty or so big pots....:D Good luck with your Ponderosa where you live.
My new song is my verison of Willy Nelson's " To all the girls I've loved before", my version is "To all the trees I've loved before"

Harry
 

cquinn

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Warren Hill's Ponderosa pines do great in East Tennessee, and they've been here for awhile now. You may want to get in contact with him. www.warrenhillbonsai.com
 

Dav4

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Thanks, Guys. Harry, I'm hoping my tree does better here in Ga then yours in OK because my climate is slightly less hot in the summer then yours (I think:confused:). Here in N. Ga, it seems that you can grow many different types of trees. I think the question is whether it will grow well/thrive, or not. Cquinn, I talked to Warren 3 years ago about growing ponderosas in GA...he was the only one who said it was possible.
 

bonsaiTOM

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Dav4 - I know that ponderosas like cold winters. They do well here. But they don't like a lot of moisture while dormant.

What are your winter low temps like, and for how long?

Sure you don't want to sell that big guy to a Northern buddy? :D

Nice tree.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Dave,
Brussel's has had several pondys at the nursery for 4-5 years and they seem to be doing fine, outside on the benches all year long, under shadecloth in the summer.


I hope yours turns around. Keep us posted...3 of mine just arrived in B'ham this weekend!
 

Dav4

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Dav4 - I know that ponderosas like cold winters. They do well here. But they don't like a lot of moisture while dormant.

What are your winter low temps like, and for how long?

Sure you don't want to sell that big guy to a Northern buddy? :D

Nice tree.
We generally get our first frost in late Oct/ early Nov. January can be quite cold the entire month...my folks, who live in MA, spent the 3rd week of January here in GA. At that point of the winter, the temps in GA were colder then anything they had seen in MA. I guess I'm saying that it won't be a lack of cold that does this tree in. More likely, chronicly high summertime temps, particularly at night, will slow the tree down. It seems very prone to needle cast here, so preventative spraying is in order. I'm very hopeful the aggressive re-pot will reinvigorate this tree...we'll see.
 

Dav4

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Dave,
Brussel's has had several pondys at the nursery for 4-5 years and they seem to be doing fine, outside on the benches all year long, under shadecloth in the summer.


I hope yours turns around. Keep us posted...3 of mine just arrived in B'ham this weekend!
Yeah, I don't see why they can't be grown here, and that's why I brought one with me. John Kirby in Arkansas has had good success with them for the better part of the last decade, I think, too. Summers are certainly just as nasty there as here. Anyway, you better start a thread with your new trees, as well, with lots of pics. Good luck with them.

Dave
 

mcpesq817

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Do you have Larry Jackel's book? He has a number of contributing authors from around the country (including Walter in Europe) who wrote their care guidelines. I know John Kirby is one contributing author, I think there might be someone else from the south as well.
 

Dav4

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Do you have Larry Jackel's book? He has a number of contributing authors from around the country (including Walter in Europe) who wrote their care guidelines. I know John Kirby is one contributing author, I think there might be someone else from the south as well.
Yup, I've got that one. I don't have it with me at the moment, but I believe John was the used as the reference for "southern" growers. If I recall correctly, one of his recommendations for growing these trees is aggressive, thorough re-potting into the appropriate soil.
 

greerhw

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Advice from Colin Lewis.

You don't need to worry about needle reduction until the branch structure
> is
> complete and you have a reasonable number of buds and shoots.
>
> Ponderosas are the opposite of black pine - needle reduction is the result
> of deprivation and density rather than vigor.
>
> Deprivation-1:
> Water normally in spring until the needles are about one and a quarter
> inch
> long, whereupon reduce watering to an absolute minimum, probably less than
> you feel comfortable with. If you water other trees every day, water the
> ponderosa every three days, etc. (Modify this regime to account for soil
> type and age.) Do not resume normal watering until the needles are dark
> green and fully hardened, probably not until mid to late August, maybe
> even
> early September - you'll need to use your judgement there.
>
> Deprivation-2:
> In spring do NOT feed nitrogen. Use 0-10-10 or a combination of
> superphosphate and potash. Only include nitrogen in a balanced feed once
> the needles have become dark green and fully hardened. This influx of
> nitrogenous energy will go into bud production rather than needle and
> shoot
> growth.
>
> Deprivation-3:
> Repot very INfrequently. Most bonsai are repotted too often anyway, but
> once every seven to ten years should do for ponderosas. The slow-down in
> root growth is reflected in slower and more compact crown growth. The
> longer the tree has to tolerate an inhospitable root environment, the
> smaller will be the buds and the shorter will be the needles.
>
> Density
> The theory goes that any given root mass has the ability to support a
> given
> maximum surface area of foliage. When roots are confined in a pot
> (especially for a long time) the tree eventually develops the maximum
> number
> of buds that it can support with full-size needles. The following year,
> with even more buds, the tree has to choose between sacrificing some buds
> or
> reducing the size of the emerging foliage. Provided the tree is healthy
> it
> will chose the latter. This principle applies to almost all species,
> coniferous, deciduous or tropical.

Harry, Don't remove buds from ponderosas! Unlike black pine, they're not
strong enough to regenerate over winter. You can cut NEW candles back to
three or four pairs of needles in spring, or remove them completely of they
are very vigorous, but in fall, no.

Last year's needles can and should be thinned. You'll find that if you try
to pull them the bark will tear. Ponderosa needles need to be cut off with
sharp scissors, just above the fascicle (the papery sheath at the base.
This preserves the meristematic tissue at the base of the needles where new
buds form. By next spring the remains of the needles will dry out and fall
away.

Colin

Here's the one I bought from Colin,

Harry
 

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DaveV

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Thats some good info. Harry. Thanks! Unfortunately, I removed a lot of the buds from my Ponderosa last summer - as of yet no new buds from what I can see. I am hoping the needles on the branch will say all summer and new buds will form this summer. I believe the tree is pretty strong however.

DaveV.
 

mcpesq817

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No offense to Colin Lewis, but I would follow what people like Larry Jackel, Andy Smith, Walter Pall and others say.

From what I remember from Jackel's book, you can cut terminal buds on a very healthy ponderosa to promote a flush of backbudding. Last year I tried the technique in Jackel's book on a ponderosa I got from Larry in 2008, and I've got new buds all over.
 

DaveV

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mcpesq817, When did you cut your terminal buds ( what time of the year - was it late summer like Larry says?)

DaveV
 

mcpesq817

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I believe so - I followed the advice in his book. I know it wasn't too much later than that because my club had Larry in for a workshop in mid-October, and we were remarking at how much budding I received.

The budding wasn't uniform, with most on the stronger areas of the tree. But, I did get quite a lot of bud back.
 
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